The 2011 World Touring Car Championship season resumes this weekend with the Race of Belgium, held at the Zolder circuit.
Five weeks since the season opener at Curitiba in Brazil, Zolder hosts the third and fourth rounds of the 2011 championship. It also marks the beginning of the European leg of the season, which will last for eight rounds through to the Race of Spain in September, before the final three rounds held in Asia.
Chevrolet head to Belgium on top of both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' standings after a double victory in Brazil. Rob Huff leads the way, with teammates Alain Menu and Yvan Muller tied for second, four points behind the Briton.
The closest man to the Cruzes during the Curitiba weekend was Tom Coronel, behind the wheel of the ROAL BMW for the first time. He will hope to continue challenging the Chevrolets in Zolder, which is effectively the Dutchman's home circuit in the WTCC, with many of his fans likely to make the short trip from the neighbouring country.
The BMW attack will be strengthened in Belgium with the arrival of Norbert Michelisz and the Zengo Dension Team, who begin their campaign one race in following their switch from SEAT over the winter. Also starting their season in Zolder with a BMW are Wiechers-Sport, with series newcomer Urs Sonderegger.
Another change for Zolder sees Bamboo Engineering make the switch from the normally-aspriated Chevrolet Lacetti they used last year to the turbocharged Cruze being used by the factory team. After what they described as 'damage limitation' in Brazil with the uncompetitive Lacetti, the team is expecting drivers Darryl O'Young and Yukinori Taniguchi to make great strides forward in Belgium and contend for Yokohama Trophy honours.
Last year at Zolder the two races were won by Gabriele Tarquini for SEAT and Andy Priaulx for BMW. With Tarquini's SEAT now struggling from a lack of turbo power and Priaulx and the factory BMW team now departed, Chevrolet will be hoping to score their first win on Belgian soil and strengthen their position in the standings.
The action begins with a 30 minute test session on Friday, with the two free practice sessions being held on Saturday morning. Qualifying takes place in the afternoon with the two 13-lap races being held on Sunday at 12:20 and 13:35 local time respectively.